Djokovic into final as 'hurt' Tsonga is booed off

Sun, 14 Aug 02:20:00 2011

Novak Djokovic waltzed into the final of the Montreal Masters when his semi-final opponent Jo-Wilfried Tsonga retired during the second set.

- Djokovic into final

World number one Djokovic lost just three points on his own serve in taking the first set 6-4 and was then 3-0 up when Tsonga threw in the towel.

Tsonga, who admitted to fitness concerns after his quarter-final win over Nicolas Almagro, said he was struggling to hit the ball with an aching arm and told Djokovic 'I want to make sure I can play next week [in Cincinnati]' before walking off court.

"It was difficult for me to hit the ball well and hard. That's why I took this decision," Tsonga said afterwards. "I don't have the pretension of beating Novak without my arm."

Not everyone in the packed crowd seemed to be satisfied with Tsonga's reasoning, especially as he seemed to be hitting the ball well enough, and some of them booed him on his walk back to the dressing room.

Tsonga's decision will overshadow what had been up until that point another excellent performance from Djokovic, who will now face American Mardy Fish in Sunday's final.

Untouchable on his own serve, Djokovic was also looking dangerous on Tsonga's imposing serve in the first set thanks to some exemplary returning - and he nearly broke in the fourth game when he had three break points.

It was not until the last game of the set though that he cracked the Tsonga serve – with a wonderful defensive return getting him into the key set point that he then won a few shots later when Tsonga put a volley into the net.

Djokovic then broke in the second game of the second set when Tsonga double faulted on break point, but only after Djokovic had bossed a long rally and then produced yet another magnificent return to turn 30-15 into 30-40.

Tsonga took Djokovic to deuce for the first time in the match in the following game, but after that, he had a brief conversation with the trainer before deciding to pull out.

"It doesn't come as a surprise. I have been playing this well throughout the whole season," said Djokovic. "So I'm just trying to keep that up.

"I put a lot of hours on the court and off the court working hard ... So it's not something that comes with the talent or something like that, it's really hard work and dedication."

Djokovic, who also beat Tsonga at Wimbledon this year, has now won 52 of his 53 matches this season and the Serb will be the overwhelming favourite to make it five Masters wins out of five for the year when he takes on Fish in Sunday's final.

"He plays incredible tennis, but he's not an alien," added Tsonga. "In fact, what he does is doing everything better than the others ... He doesn't hit harder, he doesn't hit the ball earlier. But he's always there.

"He does not have the best return on the tour. But on every return, he returns well, and he's always there. So what does it is his consistency - he has no weaknesses."


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